How You Can Improve Your B2B Websites
In an increasingly competitive online space, you need to have a B2B website that doesn’t confuse potential clients, and instead gives them a great user experience that would lead to conversions. On this week’s episode, we talk to website expert Sam Moss (Co-Founder, 1ClickAgency) about what makes a great and effective B2B website, what marketers can do to improve conversions, and what some of the most recent design trends are. Sam also talks about the importance of keeping it simple while standing out and why it’s imperative to understand your target audience before you develop content and invest in SEO.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Sam Moss
Christian Klepp 00:00
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discuss their thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I’m pretty excited to welcome my guests into the show who is in fact on a mission. And his mission is to build and develop amazing websites. But I’d like to throw out another caveat because he likes to put himself in his company out there as website developers that get B2B marketing. Oh, sweet relief. Coming to us from upstate New York, Mr. Sam Moss, welcome to the show, sir.
Sam Moss 00:58
Hey, thanks, man. I appreciate you. You having me here. Love doing this stuff.
Christian Klepp 01:02
Yeah, no, absolutely. So I mean, like, let’s just hop right into it, man. Because you know, we had such a great conversation a few weeks ago. And, you know, on the topic of building websites for B2B, so just for the benefit of the audience, please elaborate… It sounds like such a simple question. And I know it’s not so easy to answer. But what do you believe makes a good website for B2B?
Sam Moss 01:28
I think a great B2B website is a website that is buyer centric, and really has empathy for who you’re selling to. And what I mean by that is, you can’t have a website that is all about you. That is what you think the buyer wants to read, or how you think they want to do business with you. A buyer centric website is a website that is easy to use, that flows, maybe it’s lean, it doesn’t have a bunch of SEO fluff, because you’re trying to rank higher. It is a website that has your buyer in mind that you purposefully and intentionally make easy to use, and make the buying process or the onboarding process easy. So when it comes to B2B websites, there’s just such garbage out there on these websites, and it’s overwhelming to land on some of them that you can’t even realize… you can’t even figure out what some of these companies do. Because they’re, they’re just so in the weeds, and they think nothing of their buyer. And a lot of they’re probably losing a lot of business because their websites just aren’t clear.
Christian Klepp 02:36
I couldn’t agree with you more there, man. And, you know, for lack of a better description, I was on one the other day, and the one adjective that came to mind was labyrinth of confusion. Because it’s so many layers down. And I mean, I’m sure you get this all the time. But for me, like if you if you have to click seven layers down on a website to look for information, it’s too… And if you’ve ever read the book by Donald Miller called Building a Story Brand, but he goes like, yeah, if you make the person burn calories to find out, or you know the answer to the question, what do you do? You can pretty much like lost half the battle already. Right?
Sam Moss 03:14
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And you know, with websites like that, it’s you have to be clear up front. And when you’re buyer centric, that means you tell your customers what you do, how you’re going to help them and how to buy from you, before they even need to scroll. I mean, you can fit all of that above the fold. So you have this is what we do, hey, we are a SaaS tool that helps with X. And then this is the problem that we solve, we’re going to make this easier, and then simply put, get a demo, if that’s, you know, your call to action. I mean, those three things are really all you need, above the fold on our website. And so many companies just waste that space. Or just add, like you mentioned the labyrinth of confusion, and then it’s a mess from there. And you have to figure out well, what do they actually do? If you just clear off the bat that’s thinking about your customer, and you’re going to you’re going to convert more sales?
Christian Klepp 04:04
Absolutely, man. And you know, you probably get this question all the time. I just thought about something while you were while you were talking. Um, why do you think people or at least B2B companies, they’re so slow to change this, this older model, right? Like, what why are they still insisting? I wouldn’t say maybe it’s not fair to say like, you know, confuse the the website visitor but why are they having such a hard time to make that make that leap? You know, to simplify, you know, to your point on that user’s journey?
Sam Moss 04:37
I think it’s because marketers are textbook over-thinkers. And when you overthink something, you overcomplicate it. So when it comes to our messaging, obviously, the goal is to be clear and concise. I think the creativity comes into play with a marketer and they’re like, you know what, yes, this is clear, but how can we make it clearer, and then when you take it that step further, it just adds confusion. So you need to know when to stop with your messaging and what is good enough. And then something that would be helpful is just run it by people that aren’t familiar with your brand. So I would talk to people that are familiar with your category, and let them on your website, get their feedback and say, hey, do you actually understand what we do? Or do you not? Is this clear enough for you? Or is this just adding confusion? And getting that feedback from potential buyers can be really insightful for companies and marketers to know. Okay, you know what, we really kind of overthought this. So as for why companies do it, I think it’s we just overthink it. And you try too hard to get the information out there when really you just have to simplify it and be okay with wow it really is just plain English here what we do.
Christian Klepp 05:49
Yeah, exactly, exactly. You know, it’s kind of funny, because we’ve kind of like answered the second question already right about, we’re talking about common mistakes and misconceptions, and certainly brought up some of them. But can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
Sam Moss 06:02
Yeah, it’s mostly just companies over explaining, I guess, is a better way to put it. It’s okay, when it’s simple. And that’s the thing is buyers want a simple answer. So when they come to your website, and they’re like, how does this company helped me, a lot of times, they’re actually confirming what they’re finding on social media. So if you’ve done, you’ve built a demand engine for what you’re doing, and then people are, they’re familiar with what your brand does, and they go to your website, and it doesn’t line up with the clear and simple message that you’ve put out over social media, what your employees are saying about you, and what some of your buyers are saying about you. That’s just going to add to the confusion. So if you have a simple and clear message executed everywhere, except your website, imagine what that’s doing to your buyers when they land on your website. And they’re like, wait, I thought I knew what this company did. And I was ready to maybe enter the buyer journey here. But now I’m kind of taken aback and not really sure, because this website is is just a mess, and absolutely confusing me. And again, I even thought I knew what this company did. And now I don’t.
Christian Klepp 07:08
Yeah, I know exactly. You know what, you without explanation, you made me think of a really great analogy. It’s almost like, you know, with the, with the whole overexplaining, but it kind of feels like, it feels like everybody’s like, so eager, like put out a 20 minute movie trailer, right? I mean, like, nobody does that. Right? So and you know, why are the movie trailers that we that we watch one or two minutes long? Because they want you to go and watch the movie. And, and for me, it’s kind of the same thing on a website, right? Like, you don’t want to put all the information every conceivable thing about your company on the website, then what reason would they have to contact you then?
Sam Moss 07:49
And they don’t need all the information a lot of the times. And here’s something that we recommend to companies is, if you feel like you have to include that, just put it deeper into the site, keep your homepage or your landing page, clean and lean. And then if you’re trying to rank for SEO, and you need to put all that fluff further in the site, which I really don’t recommend. There are places to do that. But don’t bog down the user experience right off the bat with all that because it’s totally unnecessary.
Christian Klepp 08:18
Yeah I know, some pretty good advice. I think for the next question, I’m going to use the real estate analogy here, my friend, real estate slash construction, whatever you want to call it. But when it comes to B2B websites, and you’ve probably gotten this question in the past, so you’re probably dealing with it now. build from scratch or renovate what’s already there. What are your recommendations?
Sam Moss 08:42
I am more of a build from scratch kind of guy when it comes to websites in the B2B space. And primarily because the category and the industry of B2B is just so fast moving. So your competitors are probably updating their website, every, I mean, one to two years, a full redesign. And if you’re over here tinkering with oh, we should move this testimonial section down below the feature section, then you’re going to be behind the ball and hear these companies looking innovative, staying with the times staying with design trends, and staying, you know, in touch with whatever year you’re in. If you’re behind that, then you’re in trouble. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make micro changes to your website along along the way. I am a huge proponent of that. But there comes a time when you really need a full redesign. If you want to stay relevant to your buyers, because buyers are smart, they’re gonna go to a website and if it’s from 2013, they’re gonna know, they’re gonna see the design style and they’re gonna go oh, this company, obviously is not very innovative. I wonder how their product is or how they’re going to take care of me so your website directly reflects what your brand is portraying, and if it’s again really dated, then you’re going to be in trouble and your competitors, they are continuing to keep their website up to date every one to two years. So you got to stay with that.
Christian Klepp 10:13
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. Speaking of which, you brought up an interesting topic about design trends, can you give us your list of like the, at least the ones for this year like that you’re seeing and that you yourself in your company, or are either applying or recommending to clients?
Sam Moss 10:30
One of my favorite is very simple. So the theme is just, we want it clean, we want to clear a lot of whitespace. And then something we’re getting asked a lot to implement on websites are interactive designs. And that just means that there are some movements on the site, but it’s not intense. It’s very subtle background layers that kind of move as you scroll, and just kind of pleases the eye. And again, we’re going back to simple. And then the other trend that I’ve seen starting to pop up on some sites is dark mode, which I think is kind of cool. And we help companies with that, too. So between simple and dark mode, those are the 2021 trajectory of website design that we’ve seen.
Christian Klepp 11:11
Okay. Wow, that’s pretty cool.
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
I wanted to get your thoughts on this. And you’ve probably read some of these reports already. And like all the trends, you know, when it comes to websites, and whatnot, but this is one that was written by McKinsey, right. So basically, there’s two points. So as a result of the pandemic, a lot of B2B firms have set goals to reduce costs and increase revenues that almost seems like a given, but, um, and improve cash management through digital solution. So I think that’s the key word in that sentence. Right? So and they’ve also like surveyed a group of B2B leaders. And, you know, as a result of that survey, they highlighted the most of these respondents expected to be able to meet with customers in person by early 2022. I suppose in the United States, that might be a bit earlier. Certainly here in Canada, we can forget about in person meetings until next year, yeah. But they said, at least these people that were surveyed, 15% felt that such meetings would be the norm going forward. So my question to you is based on these, you know, based on these statistics or these findings from McKinsey, what are your thoughts on these? And how should websites be adapted to address these shifts, because there are clearly some massive shifts that have taken place in the past 12 to 14 months, right?
Sam Moss 13:04
My belief with websites is that they need to be lean in that has been my belief since before the pandemic. And I think that’s been heightened now, when companies are not doing so well, and they need to cut costs, and they can’t go out and spend 150 grand on a website. And I don’t think that companies need to do that. As much as I’d like them to come to us and pay us 150k for a website redesign. Yes, we can do that for them. But it’s pretty unnecessary. So when it comes to cutting costs, going lean is one of the ways you can do that it’s cutting the fluff on the website, it’s been more buyer centric, because your buyers don’t need 90% of the garbage on that website. And then on top of that, it’s just being simple. It’s going to be easier and cheaper for you to get a 10 page website that has the same exact effect as 150 page website. Why not go with that if you’re trying to cut cost? So there are ways around it. And again, this isn’t… for me, this isn’t something that I’ve been preaching since a pandemic, this has been before because I’m all for lean, I’m all for simple. And I’m all for clean and easy. And buyer centric. So, for me, that’s just something that’s been heightened for these companies. I guess they’re starting to realize it more now than ever.
Christian Klepp 14:21
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And, you know, just kind of like…, it serves as a nice segue into the next question because, like, you know, clearly, the pandemic has affected a lot of industries. I think for industries like yours, it’s probably more of a good thing, because, you know, people are probably giving their websites, more I’m gonna say airtime than they did in the past. Because it’s gotten at least a little bit more attention now. But like, what, what kind of what kind of changes have you seen the weren’t there before?
Sam Moss 14:55
So for us, a little background on our agency, we used to really serve the small business world, and which is great, but their needs for a website apparently went down the drain when the pandemic happened because they were focusing on other things. So for us, it heightened the need to shift and go 100% into the B2B SaaS world when it comes to websites. So that’s how it changed our industry is we focus on an industry that is thriving instead of the small business world where they it’s a fight to even convince them that they need a website, let alone in a pandemic, when they are struggling to make ends meet. So that was a shift that we that we made, we went 100% into the B2B world, you know, during the pandemic, and it’s been, it’s been wonderful for us. You know, it wasn’t like, we had not touched that industry before. You know, we had some SaaS clients that we were we did websites for, but our focus was primarily the small business world. And if it wasn’t for the pandemic, then we would not have been able to grow as an agency into you know, what we are today. Because we’re focusing on companies that understand marketing, that value a website, and that are willing to invest in both of those things.
Christian Klepp 16:13
Absolutely. And if I might add also on that they appreciate on the amount of work and time and effort that’s required for such an undertaking, because let’s face it, revamping a website is no small feat. Right? Even if you know, even if the website does look simple, right? There’s a there’s a there’s a lot of like stuff that goes on behind the scenes, right? Like in the backend that we don’t know so much about. Alright, what do you believe is, like one of the biggest challenges facing websites for B2B right now, I would imagine commoditization might be one of them, right?
Sam Moss 16:52
I think the biggest challenge that, you know, B2B companies are facing is really that they all look the same. So it’s okay to deviate from a design trend that you see in the SaaS industry, just because Stripe does it. And just because Gong is doing it just because Drift is doing it doesn’t mean that you need to do it, because there are going to be copycats out there. So that’s like a caveat when it comes to a design trend. You know, for a year, let’s say 2021, we see that, like I mentioned before that interactive design and simple are kind of where companies are going, you have to be careful not to follow that to a tee. Because there are companies out there multiple companies doing the exact same thing. So if you look identical to all your competitors, then you’re just losing in that vertical, because you look like all your competitors. So why not stand out a little bit? Why not do some things different? And I think one Gong has done that they’re great at, you know, standing out and being different, especially in the design world. And Drift. It’s a pretty unique design. But I see a lot of SaaS companies seeing what Asana or Slack or Monday.com are doing with their website, and then they copy it, and then all the SaaS websites look exactly the same. I would just stay away from that, because it’s a pretty nasty trap to fall into.
Christian Klepp 18:10
Yeah, and I’m totally with you there, man. It’s a bit of like, you know, the me-too positioning. And also the whole like, Okay, how do we you become the signal versus the noise? Right.
Sam Moss 18:22
Christian Klepp 18:24
What is the status quo or a, you know, a commonly held belief in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with, and why?
Sam Moss 18:32
Man, this one I’m going to get some feedback for sure. But SEO isn’t… I’m not a huge proponent of SEO, I don’t think it’s the end all when it comes to marketing. And, you know, people think that website development and SEO, SEO go hand in hand. And we don’t do it. And we don’t even do it on our own website. Now, I do think it’s a great tool when used properly. And when you know that it’s a fit for your company. So for example, when it’s a commodity tool, like let’s say a $10 SaaS tool that people go on the internet, and they search x, that is a great thing to pop up for. But from what I’ve noticed, when your product is more expensive in higher end, so we’re talking 10, 15k, maybe even 50k a month in reoccurring revenue. That’s when SEO, I don’t think has a huge play, because now buyers are looking to who do I know, who do I trust, who I’ve seen on social media, who’s putting out great content in organic channels that I’ve been consuming for months? Whose podcast do I listen to? And now I kind of know them and like them and trust them? SEO like, if you’re just going to go to Google to buy $150,000 website, I don’t feel like that’s going to happen. And I know that’s not going to happen because we know our buyers. That’s just not how that purchase is made. It’s again, who do we trust? Who are we going to go to? Who do I know? Who have I been referred to. And again, it’s not one size one shoe for everybody here. It’s from what I found, the higher your product is in price, the less people are going to go to Google and just search it. There are other avenues that they’re going to explore.
Christian Klepp 20:14
Yeah, that’s so true, though. I mean, like, you know, we’ve all we’ve all been on those websites where we know that they’re just doing that for the SEO ranking, or you’re on a page and then suddenly you’re like, okay, it’s like, four or five times in the paragraph, there’s a link. That’s like, okay, we’re going to man.
Sam Moss 20:29
You know, one caveat that I would say is you definitely need SEO for your brand, like the branded searches. And that’s something that we’ve… it’s been important to us is when they… if you’re working so hard in organic channels, and you’re driving demand, or you’re creating demand, and you’re driving traffic to your website, a lot of times, they’re just going to go to Google and search your name. And if you don’t come up there, then you’re in trouble. But we don’t focus. You know, more than that. It’s for the branded searches that are important to us. Does your Google listing come up? Does your website come up? That’s what’s important to us.
Christian Klepp 21:06
Yeah, no, no, that’s absolutely right. I mean, like, you know, if I understood what you’re saying correctly, you’re not saying don’t do SEO, you’re just saying, like, do it properly? Right.
Sam Moss 21:14
Yeah. And know if it’s something that you should go all in on, and know how your buyers are, are discovering your type of product.
Christian Klepp 21:24
Well, yeah, I mean, it goes back to what you said at the beginning of this conversation, right? Empathy, or, you know, putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. And if I am somebody looking to revamp my website, what are the questions that I’m going to have? What am I looking for? And when I look for the so called service provider, what would I be asking them? Right? What would help me to prequalify them? Right, I think might be the right term.
Sam Moss 21:49
And on top of that, it’s trust, right? And I think that’s the biggest thing when it comes to especially our industry. It’s a very personal thing, and a very trust and needing exercise, but thing when it comes to website, right. So that’s why I’m saying like, a lot of our buyers are not going to go to Google, they’re going to be like, who do I actually already know? Or who does my friend know, that does websites because it’s such a personal like, you need to trust your web developer, and it’s the same, you need to think about what your industry does. Is it a quick, I don’t have to think about it kind of purchase? Then SEO would probably be great, because they’re going to go to Google. But the more personal and the more painful it is to fix the issue, the more expensive it is, that’s when I don’t think SEO comes into play as much.
Christian Klepp 22:44
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. And you know, Sam you’ve been giving so much great advice in the past couple of minutes, you know, during this conversation, but if you were to like, summarize it into two things, right. What is the one thing that you think people should start, and one thing that people should stop when it comes to developing B2B websites?
Sam Moss 23:04
I’ll be quick with that. So the first one, we should start is you need to have empathy for your buyer, and be buyer centric on your website. Plain and simple. You have to make it easy for them when they get to your website to do business with you. What you should stop doing is trying to sound smart on your website. Stop trying to impress your buyer with the lingo that you use. Just be clear and use the language that they’re already using. Talk like they do. That’s the two simplest things, what to start and what to stop when it comes to B2B website.
Christian Klepp 23:35
I think you ruffle a few feathers with that second one. (laugh)
Sam Moss 23:39
I’m a huge, huge proponent of the second one there, big time.
Christian Klepp 23:43
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I know you spoke about it a couple of minutes ago, but like what would you say would be the right time for a company to like revamp their website? I mean, like, what was it every year, every two years? Or what would you say would be the right time.
Sam Moss 23:56
We see in the SaaS world every one to two years, um, you know, one, whatever, every year is pretty aggressive. But we do see companies execute on that. And then another indicator that it’s time for a website redesign. And this isn’t the only one is if you’ve recently rediscovered your ICP, and you’ve re-determined your positioning, and you have rewritten your messaging. Those are like core things that are implemented on a website. And if you just sat down with the marketing team and went through those, obviously a website redesign is coming up soon. So that’s another indicator for us.
Christian Klepp 24:35
Gotcha. Gotcha. Sam, you know, such great advice here. And you know, please do us the honor of introducing yourself and rumor has it that you’re, you’re a family business.
Sam Moss 24:47
Yes, absolutely. So I’m the co-founder of 1Click Agency. It’s no surprise what we build websites for B2B companies. So I started this business with my dad back in 2016. And then it was just the two of us doing like marketing activities for small businesses, and realized that we were spreading ourselves too thin. So we decided to focus on website development and design. And then obviously, we touched on it but the pandemic happened and we went 100% into the B2B world. Now we have a team of 13 developers below us handling operations and we oversee the projects and execute what the client’s needs. So that’s a quick rundown on what I do.
Christian Klepp 25:27
That’s amazing. Man, you guys have come a long way since 2016.
Sam Moss 25:31
Yeah, big time. Bigtime. And that’s the shortened version.
Christian Klepp 25:35
That’s what that’s the original of the Cliffs notes version. All right?
Sam Moss 25:38
Christian Klepp 25:40
Sam, this has been an awesome session. So thanks so much for coming on and sharing your knowledge and your expertise with the audience. So speaking of which, what’s the best way for somebody who needs a website revamp to get, you know, to get in touch with you?
Sam Moss 25:54
You can go to our website, oneclickagency.com, you can use the the number or you can spell it out, it’ll almost the same place. You can… I’m on LinkedIn every day. That’s a big one for me. So you feel free to connect with me there. And then on top of that, we have a podcast called B2B Made Simple, which is, you know, Marketing Podcast similar to this one. And that’s another place to kind of get familiar with our brand and learn more about marketing.
Christian Klepp 26:17
Fantastic, Sam, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thanks again for your time. So take care, be safe and you know, look me up when you make it over here and, you know, to Toronto.
Sam Moss 26:29
All right, man, well, yeah, family up there. So as soon as the border is open, and full travel, then we’ll be up your way.
Christian Klepp 26:36
So sounds good. All right. Take care. Talk to you soon.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co, and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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